N95 respirators and surgical masks are some of the most popular equipment for personal protection during the pandemic. These masks are commonly used to protect the user from airborne particles and from blocking any harmful dust or liquid contaminating the face. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have also permitted the use of N95 masks.
N95 masks offer more protection than conventional surgical masks. However, due to their short supply in the market, CDC has said that it is more feasible if they are only used for health care providers since they are more susceptible to the virus. It should also be noted that Health Care providers must be trained and pass a fit test before they wear an N95 face mask. Just like surgical masks, N95 face masks are also intended to be disposed of when used. There is still ongoing research to reuse the masks after disinfecting them.
You can buy these masks from a number of places but we strongly recommend you to buy N95 face masks made in USA.
This one also belongs to the class of N95 but it is a more tightly fitted face mask. The respirator is tested to filter out 95% of all splashes, sprays, large particles and even tiny minute particles as well. In short, it is a perfect shield against bacteria and viruses.
The respirator is oval in shape and is designed in such a way to seal your face from all harmful particles. The elastic bands at the sides help to hold the mask in face so you don’t have to fix it repeatedly.
Some N95 masks have additional features like an exhalation valve which eliminates build up of heat and humidity. It also eases in comfortable breathing.
N95 face masks do not have standard size for everyone. They must be fit-tested before you wear so the seal fits comfortably. Make sure that the seal is tight otherwise you would not be able to get optimum protection.
N95 face mask users should perform a seal check every time they use it. Special N95 masks are available for children and facial hair.
N95 masks also offer ultra protection from smaller respiratory droplets such as SARS-CoV-2.
However, according to CDC, their use should not be extended outside of health settings. This is because:
- N95 respirators and masks should be fit-tested before putting them on. If the seal is loose, it can cause respiratory problems.
- Due to their tight fit, N95 masks can become uncomfortable and suffocating at times so it cannot be used for longer periods of time. It is more appropriate to wear them inside health care settings.
- Because N95 masks are mainly designed for health care workers, it has a shortage of supply and thus first responders have difficulty in finding access to them.
Fake N95 masks Vs Real N95 masks
As we all know, upon the discovery of the CoronaVirus, many scammers and fraudulent companies started manufacturing fake surgical masks, N95 masks and other protective equipment to coax people into buying fake products. Such equipment is made out of uncomfortable, low quality synthetic material providing absolutely no protection to the user. Therefore, it is important to differentiate between the original N95 mask and a fake one. Here are the guidelines:
- A fake N95 face mask would have a missing or misspelled NIOSH approval stamp mark.
- A fake N95 mask will have ear loops and not headbands which are mandatory for tighter fit.
- An original N95 face mask will always have a TC approval number listed on it.
- The company would claim approval for use by children.
- A fake N95 mask will have additional decorative add-ons. The more fancy it is, the higher the chances of the mask being fake.
- An original face mask will always have a manufacturing lot number.
You can also visit the official website of CDC to do more research on how to differentiate between a fake and original N95 face mask.
Why go for N95 face masks only?
Though there are many different options to choose from such as surgical masks, cloth masks and KN95 masks, we will discuss why N95 is the best one.
Though both N95 and K95 offer 95% filter of aerosol particulates and are made out of synthetic material layers, N95 is approved by NIOSH while KN95 is not. The perfect fitting protection given by N95 masks makes it more safe than others.
If one is using surgical masks, he or she may want to wear double surgical face masks to increase their productivity. While surgical masks are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), N95 masks are studied and carefully tested by NIOSH.
Moreover, surgical masks only offer protection against larger droplets, splashes or other hazardous fluids. In contrast to this, N95 offers more resistance to such things including tiny dust particles including aerosols. Other than that, surgical masks have a loose fitting and do not need a fitted-test requirement.
While surgical face masks do not have a user seal check condition, N95s do.
Last but not the least, those who use cloth masks do not need any seal check requirement or test approval by any authorities and that is why it is considered as the least safest option. Although, cloth mask is better than no face mask at all, it does not offer as healthy protection as N95 does.
All in all, the above content proves that N95 offers more protection and gives a comfortable wearability than any other mask. The fact that it has been clinically proven by NIOSH is enough for you to get your hands on this one. Special N95 face masks for kids. If you are a health worker or intend to visit a health care facility anytime soon, it is advisable to use an N95 face mask.
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